Self Defense: Knowing the Law

By: Melissa Warren Email
By: Melissa Warren Email

"Just as soon as that threat stops, the right to self defense stops," said Conceal Carry Instructor Phil Kimbel.

Our open records request in the case of the shooting that killed Brandon Bradshaw was fulfilled yesterday, and we shared that 190 page document with you, but within those pages still lie many questions. One of those questions many of you have asked regards self defense. Two experts would not specifically address the Bradshaw case, but explain what Kentucky law says is and is not self defense.

One conceal carry instructor always tells her students to be prepared to have their actions reviewed.

"The case will likely go to a grand jury, and determine whether there should be charges brought against anyone," said Conceal Carry Instructor Trainer Deborah Williams.

That was the case with the Bradshaw shooting, and the grand jury decided not to indict Tommy Brown on manslaughter charges, saying it was a case of self defense under Kentucky law. KRS 503.055 states, a person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.

"Just as soon as that threat stops, the right to self defense stops," said Conceal Carry Instructor Phil Kimbel.

Both experts agree the purpose of using force for self defense is to stop the threat of harm, but as the law states, they don't rule out deadly force when necessary.

"I think the more logical inclination would be to shoot to stop the person, which might well involve a threat to their life," said Kimbel.

"The first initiative you would take would be to stop them from advancing on you, however that is," said Williams.

Both say every circumstance is unique, and Kimbel says the situation is easier when you have an understanding of your rights.

"That situation doesn't allow you alot if time to decide. You have to decide quickly. That's why you need to be trained," said Kimbel.

He says the first step in that training is knowing the law.

You can view what the law says about self defense by clicking the related link below.

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